Chapter 107:

Advancing

Mad God


“Focus.” Ren’s voice resonated inside Yanda’s mind as he was sitting in a water bubble, deep down in the river. He was concentrating to keep it up while the currents flowed speedly past him. “The pressure you are feeling now is nothing! You just need to push back harder! Use the currents, feel them. The energy running through your body is acting the same way. You have a natural gift, use it!”


“It’s hard to not be swept away by the river…” Yanda groaned, gritting his teeth. “Not to mention… synching up with… it?”


“So? You want to give up?” Ren chuckled, sending her voice over, while she was floating above the river.


The outside world was also turbulent as a wild storm raged in the region, lightning flashing incessantly, wind blowing so hard, normal people couldn’t stand straight. The Shert River was rumbling and roaring like an enraged dragon.


“No…” Yanda’s reply came through gritted teeth as Ren just chuckled.


“Then grit your teeth harder! This is the best opportunity for you. Tune yourself into the raging river! Look at it like your energy channels. You are born mixed Yanda! You are a bridge between two races! On one side you have natural affinity with water, such a mastery that others could only achieve after stepping onto the next level. On the other side, this is also your weakness. Your energy flows just like this river now, rampaging, destroying everything that gets in its way. What you feel now is how your energy points feel when they are blasted with your inborn gift! You need to strengthen and bring up your human side to the same level.”


“I’ll… do it…” He answered, with a heavy voice as he was trying to sit still and keep himself steady underwater.


“Better be! There are no alternatives here. You either succeed or you die.” answered Ren calmly.


“That’s… motivating…” He chuckled a little and that was followed by his Master’s cheeky laugh.


“I know. But you can do it. I have trust in my disciples!”


Once again, Yanda focused on keeping his body firm and the bubble around him strong and stable to resist the raging river. As he concentrated, his master’s words echoed inside his mind again and again. Soon a new idea formed in his mind. Slowly he started to absorb the water energies inside his sphere of protection, letting the river wash through it, always letting in a little more and more. It was a risky move, because if the violent currents tore open his protection, he would get swept away immediately. Maybe even torn to shreds like a ragdoll as nature’s wild strength was not something a cultivator in the body refinement realm could withstand for long.


“Finally!” Ren smiled, watching from above “You do get it!”


As Yanda started to slowly harmonize himself with the river it got easier and easier to absorb its energy. He was letting it flow through not just his sphere but through his body, strengthening it and after a few minutes he found himself in a strange, meditative state. The deafening noise from the currents ceased to exist and only calm, strangely satisfying feelings remained.


“Welcome to the 8th stage.” Ren nodded, slowly looking away, watching the rumbling storm above her that still ravaged the region. “You are going to be fine now and you are only a step away from the last stage. Try to maximize this storm! Maybe you breeze through it, straight onto the 9th stage. That would be the best outcome~” whispered before she flashed away, following a blue lighting in the sky, almost as if she was racing against it.


Not far away, at an uninhabited part of the shore the storm was raging especially violently and the real cause of it was no other than Kyu. She was in her true form, standing still, roaring towards the sky as lightning occasionally struck down, hitting her right on the head. It was striking Kyu down, into the earth, blasting rocks and mud everywhere, before she struggled to stand back up and absorb the bolts inside her body.


“How’s she doing?” Ren arrived, standing next to Poli and Emi who were here from the start.


“Pretty good!” Emi nodded “But I am surprised, it's her third tribulation only yet it is this strong!”


“She consumed a ton of different energies.” Ren looked on as Kyu was bombarded with differently colored lightning strikes from the Sky “The glutton can only blame herself!”


“Is she in any danger?” Poli asked, a bit worried, looking at Emi for an answer as she was the most experienced here, already going through 8 similar tribulations.


“Yes. Every tribulation is dangerous.” The foxgirl nodded “It is stupid to even ask!”


“Hey, you know how I meant it!” He rolled his eyes, flicking her ear.


“Ouch! You-!” She elbowed back but Ren just slapped both of their butts, with such a force both of them jumped up.


“Stop it! Flirt when you are alone!”


“It wasn’t flirting!” Emi protested while Poli took a completely different route.


“You always do it with Leinor too, Master!”


“Kyu is going to be fine.” Ren continued, ignoring the two “Your Queen… how many did she take?”


“It’s different for everybody as no one demon is the same.” Emi said, dodging her question.


“It’s not a secret.” Aerthus’s voice arrived appearing next to them, watching Kyu with great interest in his eyes “She had exactly 20.”


“How do you know?” Emi asked with surprise in her voice, looking at him suspiciously.


“We talked about it. I visit her frequently!” He smiled, “She is a good friend and we both benefited from each other’s company.” His words immediately drew redness onto Emi’s face that did not escape Aerthus’ eyes. “What are you thinking about? Heh… young ones!”


“Ugh…” Emi flinched, wanting to bury herself immediately and by reflex, she hid behind Poli. The latter was trying to hold back laughing as hard as he could and even pointed his thumb at Aerthus.


“How’s the experiment?” Aerthus turned towards Ren in the end.


“Going fine. After she overcomes this hurdle I’ll start feeding her specific demon cores I picked out! She is going in raw, to see if she can utilize them! From the different hunting outings of disciples and the occasional conflicts between the Valley and some more aggressive tribes we have a great collection of cores by now. Also…”


“Are you sure you want to talk about this before me?” Emi cut in with furrowed brows.


“Sure.” The Master-Disciple duo answered at the same time “Your Queen is the one who supplied us with a dozen, high level cores and gets every copy of our results in return.”


“Anyway, I also devised a method with Shaman and Uncle Dermitos,” Ren continued “on how to melt down demonic cores and form a pill out of them with other herbs mixed in.”


“What are the effects?” Aerthus asked while the rest also perked their ears up, especially Emi.


“On humans? Violent. It gives such a big energy boost, that taking it below the 8th stage of body refinement means instant explosion. Only give it to disciples if you want to murder them.” Ren chuckled a little. “I wouldn’t want to give them to anyone weaker than me! Even if they are at the 9th stage! Too risky. Of course, in a life or death battle, it could serve as a limit breaker and may provide a chance to win from a defeated position. An emptied vessel may fill up instantly after taking it. Still! There is an 80% chance of going nova, instead of winning.” She shook her head while Poli had shivers all over his back.


“You tested it?” Aerthus asked.


“Yup.” Ren nodded “Took the first pill myself!”


“You are crazy…” Emi murmured.


“Ahaha, it was fine, it was fine!” She waved her hands. “True, it made me sick for a day but it wasn’t life threatening! But it jumbled up my energy-flow, I couldn’t perform any spells decently for a whole day! It was conflicting with me greatly until I sorted it out and assimilated it, down to the last drop. True, it was made from a high level demon’s core, which may have also had an effect on it. So honestly, you should only take it if you are dry as a desert! If not, get ready to feel like drinking something vile while having a hangover!”


“So for humans it is not a really useful pill.” Aerthus sighed, a bit disappointed.


“Sadly, no, not really. But for demons…” crept up a grin on her face, looking at Emi “Take one before a breakthrough and it will boost your chances by Shaman’s calculation; At least 50%. Higher the demoncore it is made of, higher the chances!”


“You sure?” Emi blinked her eyes because this meant demons may have a much smoother sailing in the future as a lot of them die not because of wars or old age, but because failing a tribulation.


“Yup! But don’t be happy, making a pill is astronomically high priced at the moment! The plants needed to add to the mix are from the Ents’ territory! Also, they are still just from the outskirts of their place, I bet that deeper in, there are more efficient supplements to be found.”


Her words made Emi flinch as it was already a big risk going that close to the “living forest”, testing out Shaman’s new mix and collecting some plants. Going even deeper would be suicide.


“How many pills are there?” Aerthus asked.


“Only 4. The rest went up in smoke while working on the recipe. We can’t make new ones for now. One is going to be sent to Lady Rumira,” Ren explained “One is going to Kyu, One for Emi and the last one is to be kept for further study.”


“For me? Why?” Emi flinched, completely surprised.


“Because you are getting close to a tribulation, no?”


“Eh… yes, but…”


“Then perfect!” Ren clapped happily “It is going to be the best experiment!”


“Ugh…” Emi flinched as the final lightning bolt struck down on Kyu at that moment. She gave her last, angry roar before plopping down on the ground, breathing heavily.


It was Ren who first landed next to her, rubbing Kyu’s big head, electricity still flashing between her strands of wet and burnt fur.


“Good job… you did good!” Ren whispered as an answer came from Kyu, making the others laugh out.


“Maaasteeer… Kyu is… stuffed! Tummy hurts!”


“Now those are some words I never imagined coming out of your mouth!” Ren laughed, scratching behind her ears. “Come, I’ll take you back, you rest a little and Master helps you digest it~”


“Mmm~” She nodded but soon she just fell asleep.


“Well… she may be asleep for a week at least…” Rem shook her small head, appearing from nowhere. She was examining Kyu, with different ointments at hand, ready to help if needed.


“She won’t be happy then!” Ren chuckled as she lifted up the giant bear of hers. “Because I know, some disciple paid in advance for her little service… they are going to demand refunds!”


“Hah!” Poli laughed “Like if they have a backbone for that!”


“I hope they do!” Aerthus spoke up with an expectant grin “I don’t want to raise cowards!”


“I agree.” Ren nodded “Let’s see how this is going to play out~”